ffwd – quatre quarts

A couple of days ago, NPR radio interviewed Dorie Greenspan about Tuesdays with Dorie, and the wonderful online communities that have begun – starting with the idea of people around the world cooking through a book and sharing their stories. Certainly, we have that too with French Fridays with Dorie. In the article I read, Dorie shared one of her favorite cakes – “the cake that got me fired”, Chocolate Armagnac Cake.

So, this week, I decided that I should really make two cakes. The quatre-quarts for our Friday recipe, and Dorie’s other cake of the week.

The quatre-quarts is a simple French-style cake, a single small layer, with subtle clean flavors. There are few ingredients – the one choice to make – the flavoring. Since I was using Armagnac in the chocolate cake, I thought I’d just go with some rum – Appleton’s.

Eggs are separated, butter melted, dry ingredients whisked together. The sugar and eggs are mixed together, then the butter and flavoring added.

Then the dry ingredients are added to make a batter. Egg whites are whisked, and then folded in – first a portion to lighten it, then the remainder to make a light fluffy batter.

Finally, the batter is poured into a prepared pan (I used spray and a parchment round), then sprinkled with about a tablespoon of brown sugar over the top.

Once the cake has baked, it’s cooled in the pan for about 10 minutes, then turned out to cool.

This cake turned out beautifully, out of the pan perfectly – and it tastes delicious. It would be fantastic with berries or even just a dollop of cream, though it’s great on its own.

The chocolate armagnac cake turned out quite nicely too, though I think it will be better cold, or just over cold. What a contrast! The quatre-quarts is a light, simple butter cake. The chocolate is a dense, rich, moist blast of chocolate. It’s made with armagnac-soaked prunes to add to the complexity and moistness. There’s nearly 3/4 of a pound of chocolate for an 8″ cake, so that adds to the richness as well.

These two cakes couldn’t possibly be more different, but are both simply delicious. For the moment, I think I prefer the quatre-quarts. I know others will adore the chocolate. I guess we’ll have to take the opportunity to compare a bit more – either way its a win.

18 thoughts on “ffwd – quatre quarts

  1. What a great comparison post. Nice write-up and lovely photos. You have me wanting to bake that chocolate cake too. We loved today’s cake and it was fun to decide how to dress it up.

  2. I am glad to hear the interview is available on line! Look forward to hearing it.
    I have been curious about the armagnac cake – it sounds like a treat.
    Have a great weekend!

  3. I love that you made two cakes! With all the baked goods in my freezer, I didn’t have the heart to bake yet another cake. I’m happy about the raves on the quatre-quarts. It will definitely be my next catch-up post!

  4. Wow, two cakes at the same time – I salute you! Interesting about the chocolate cake. I’ve been curious about it, but haven’t got up the gumption to try it yet.

  5. Very cool to have made both cakes for comparison! I have been curious about the chocolate cake- enjoyed reading the story that went along with it. I listened to part of the NPR interview and really enjoyed it. will have to pick up where I left off later. We really liked the quatre quarts cake and will be making it again.

  6. Nice work to contrast these two different cakes. I’ve been meaning to try the chocolate cake recipe and now you convinced me. Oh oh, I have the exact same colour for the spatula! I love to stalk the W-S sales table for out-of-season colours…. 😀

  7. You were ambitious this week, Candy. Both cakes look wonderful! The textures look so different and are such a contrast. I thought Dorie’s interview was a good one and enjoyed listening to it.

  8. Oh, and just an FYI, I used ground almonds for the chocolate cake (since I had them…) rather than the pecans. So far, the chocolate is very popular! But it’s kind of a toss-up!

  9. What a great bakeoff! Both sound delicious. It sounds like the chocolate cake was as good as the quatre-quarts, which I loved. Lucky you!

  10. Candy, I missed the interview so am happy to know about it and will listen to it when I finish this comment. I am so glad you tried the other cake (I am thinking about how much I loved the chicken). Is it the Armagnac or the recipes by Dorie? Will try both cakes again. Mary

  11. I love that you made both cakes! We loved the armagnac at our house when we made it. It sounds like you had a good contrast between the two cakes. 🙂

  12. What a great idea to make both cakes! I listened to that interview and loved it as well. But I always enjoy Dorie’s kind spirit and endearing words. (not to mention her recipes) I am a chocolate lover, but never have been a dense chocolate cake lover so I suspect I would side with you on enjoying the lighter quatre-quarts cake. Can’t wait to make it with lemon or orange. Thanks so much for popping by my post as well!

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